Wednesday, November 14, 2012

South America tour begins in Luján, Argentina

Circus of smiles has made it to Argentina! Luján, Argentina- to be exact. Though we got off to a slow start, once we started we hit the ground running. In Spanish, there is a saying: ¨arracamos a full¨ which I would roughly translate to starting up at full force. That is how it has been for us here, thanks mostly to the excitement and warm welcome we have received from the Lujaneros (people of Lujan.)

Luján is a city in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina, located 68 kilometers north west of the city of Buenos Aires, that is best known for its large neo-gothic Basillica. The town is visited by more than six million people each year. The city is known as La Capital de la Fe (Capital of the Faith). Getting beyond what the tourists see, Luján is a complex area where the neighborhoods, schools, and social services span the map from wealthy middle class to very poor. The town has some geographic lines (rivers, highways, countryside and train tracks) that seem to very clearly divide the different poulations. The places we visit tend to be very patchwork- schools in borrowed spaces, houses built from scraps of whatever people can find, clothes that have been found or donated and (almost always) children everywhere.

We have had the joy and privilege to team up with my very old friend, Cydney Justman. Cyd was one of my closest friends in middle school. After not seeing one another for almost 10 years, we both found ourselves in Argentina doing social/global projects that have now come to feed into one another. She has become our °in° for many harder to reach populations, our confidant, our advisor... basically, Cydney has become our local coordinator in Luján, and we are very grateful! 
This set of projects feel more like sprints than the long distance race that was our Southeast Asia tour. Just yesterday we finished 7 shows and a few hours of hospital clowning in a space of 30 hours. None in the same space, or even neighborhood as another. Some much joy, laughs, and exhaustion already... and so many stories to share. Stayed tuned for anecdotes on lost cameras, swearing toddlers, and conga lines.

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